J.J. Hickson Continues Outstanding Perfomances for Trail Blazers

By John Raffel
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Hickson can try, but he can’t turn around the Portland Trail Blazers‘ fortunes all by himself.

Hickson had 25 points and 16 rebounds for Portland (25-29), which extended its NBA  losing streak to six games, in a 102-98 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

What has added to Hickson’s frustrations are  the number of games that have been so closely within the Trail Blazers’ grasp. Portland is 4-0 in games decided by four points or less. Teams with winning records obviously find ways to win the close games down the stretch.

The Trail Blazers’ postseason hopes are obviously fading as the losing streak progresses. They trail the Houston Rockets by four games for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Hickson remains a bright light for Portland while others are fading. Against the Suns, Hickson, a four-year pro, saw 39 minutes of action and was 10-of-14 from the floor in a spectacular shooting night with 16 rebounds. He couldn’t have played a better game and probably hasn’t all season, in which he’s averaging 12.9 points and 10.l4 rebounds a game. His shooting remains impressive at 57 percent.

Hickson is ranked fourth in the league in double-doubles with 28. Following the game with Phoenix, he has shot 50 percent or better in a franchise-record 17 straight games.

If Hickson can get back in to double-digit figures for scoring on a steady basis, the Trail Blazers might be able to sneak out a few  more wins. Right now, along with teammates like LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, he’s carrying his load and is looking for other teammates to follow suit.

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